Key Officials Speak at CHEA 2019 Annual Conference
In This Issue:
- Diane Auer Jones of U.S. Department of Education and Congressman Mark Takano Speak at CHEA 2019 Annual Conference
- U.S. House of Representatives Organizes Committee on Education and Labor
- Senator Lamar Alexander Speaks About Higher Education Act Reauthorization
Diane Auer Jones, the Principal Deputy Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and Congressman Mark Takano (D-California), a member of the House Education and the Labor Committee, spoke at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) 2019 Annual Conference, held January 28-30 in Washington, DC. Both addressed the current USDE accreditation negotiated rulemaking (see Federal Update #7).
Jones said that USDE wanted not to deregulate but rather to right-size its regulations on accreditation. She discussed improving teach-out requirements for both institutions and accreditors, the importance of taking student profiles into account when evaluating student learning outcomes and USDE’s interest in making it easier for students to transfer credits. She also noted that USDE wishes to revise, not eliminate, the credit hour definition.
Congressman Takano said that, because the public relies on accreditation, there is a need for accrediting organizations to play a larger role in protecting students and to focus their reviews around student learning outcomes, improving accountability. He raised questions about the USDE negotiated rulemaking and its impact on accreditation regulations. He addressed issues related to the transfer of credits. He urged that there be more standardization of policies among accrediting organizations and that accreditation do more benchmarking of learning outcomes. He also said that there are too many schools with low graduation rates and stated that accreditors must work to address this issue.
As the 116th Congress began its work, new leadership was elected for the U.S. House of Representatives education committee and higher education subcommittee. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) was elected Chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor. Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina) will serve as Ranking Member. The Committee will have 50 members: 28 Democrats, 16 of whom are new to the committee and 14 who are new to Congress and 22 Republicans, 10 of whom are new to the committee and eight who are new to Congress.
Susan Davis (D-California) will serve as Chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment, with Lloyd Smucker (R-Pennsylvania) serving as Ranking Member. A full list of Committee and Subcommittee members can be found here.
In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on February 4, 2019, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, discussed reauthorizing the Higher Education Act and said that he wants to pass a bill by the end of this year. His remarks and a video of the session are available.